By Ifeanyi Nwoko
Efforts are underway to transform the ECOWAS Parliament from an advisory body to a legislative body, a statement has said.
The statement by the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) on Friday in Abuja, said the transformation was the focus of a 3-day high-level workshop in Lome, Togo
The statement was signed by My Nwajei kanayo, Communications Officer, NLS.
Kanayo said that the theme “Africa as An Emerging World Giant -Actualizing the Enhanced Powers of ECOWAS Parliament, the Place of Budget and Oversight.’’
“A 3-day, high level workshop/seminar has ended in Lome, capital of Republic of Togo with a resolve to transform ECOWAS Parliament from Advisory body to a legislative status and position Africa, as an emerging world giant.
“ The workshop was part of efforts to ensure that budgetary goals are achieved at national and regional levels, among ECOWAS member-states.
“ It deliberated on how to integrate national objectives and resources into regional goals; deepen democracy and promote people’s Parliament for good governance.’’
Kanayo statesdthat the President of the Togolese Republic and Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, Faure Gnassingbe stressed that such move would develop the region through relevant legislation.
“The Supplementary Act is to enable the ECOWAS Parliament to better commit their time to make developmental legislation for regional development, “ the statement quoted Gnassingbe as saying.
He said that Gnassingbe was represented by the Prime Minister, Komi Selom Klassou.
Kanayo said that NLS’s Director-General, Prof. Ladi Hamalai, made a presentation on how the Resource Needs of Parliaments can be enhanced and appropriated for the development of institutional benchmarks and good governance.
He said that Hamalai, while acknowledging the capacity deficit in most African parliaments, called for continuous education and training.
The communications officer said that Hamalai spoke on the imperatives of professional developments through parliamentary institutes.
“Establishment of parliamentary Institute, though, a relatively young phenomenon in Africa, with origins from mature democracies such as Canada, they are increasingly being viewed in many countries as a solution to the challenge of poor parliamentary performance,’’ the statement quoted Hamalai as saying.
Kanayo said that Hamalai, while pointing participants to the trail-blazing role and the success story of NILS, Post Graduate programmes in Legislative and Democratic Studies, noted that parliamentary institutes must remain centres of excellence, non-partisan, independent and research-based.
He said that the workshop provided an opportunity to enlighten MPs and participants from ECOWAS Community Institutions and agencies on the expanded role of the Parliament as well as discuss strategies for effective implementation of the Supplementary Act.
The communications officer said that the workshop was a follow up to the Supplementary Act. relating to the Enhancement of Powers of the ECOWAS Parliaments, of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, during the 50th Ordinary Session in Abuja, 2016.
Kanayo said that the workshop had in attendance, 150 participants, from ECOWAS Parliament, ECOWAS Commission, National Institute for Legislative Studies.
Others were international organisations and partner agencies of ECOWAS, members of the civil society organizations in Togo, members of organised labour, the private sector and other officials of ECOWAS institutions and agencies in Togo.